Good morning! Coach Hannah here, with your next dose of morning realness.
So far we have talked about taking time for yourself first, the transformative power of laughing, and seeing the light with the right alarm clock.
if you missed any of the previous emails in this series you can catch up over on our website.
Today I want to talk to you about a concept that I call "Smoothing the Path."
To be honest, I wasn't aware that I was doing this path-smoothing at first. It was only after reading all y'alls replies to my first email about mornings that I started to really deconstruct what I was doing that made my mornings ok. Sometimes great. But at least ok.
Here's what smoothing the path has looked like for me.
I know that I am generally grumpy toddler when I wake up. It is often dark, and cold. There are lots of reasons to want to stay in bed, or to resent having to get moving. Especially when you are forced to wake up early. Toddler tantrums are a serious risk here.
At night, before bed, I am a grown-ass adult woman, and I have the bandwidth to make some mature and reasonable choices.
I have found it useful to leverage this fact to help my morning toddler deal with her shit.
Thus, adult Hannah handles the following actions before bed:
- I lay my clothes out. Not only that, I make sure everything is right side out (no risk of putting that shirt on inside out in the dark) and I place them in piles so that they are available to grab in the order in which they need to be put on my body. Pants, with underpants on top. Sports bra on top of tank top on top of sweater. This may seem excessive, but just wait until morning. It feels so damn good to just EXECUTE. Also toddlers don't do well with decisions.
- I prep my coffee. Fill the kettle with enough water, make sure the french press is emptied from the day before and ready to go. I make sure the kitchen counter is clear of obstacles - no piled up dishes in front of the coffee making station! Morning toddler Hannah needs only the tiniest of excuses to freak out and ruin the whole day.
- I set up my lunch in the fridge right at the front, so it's easy to grab.
- I shower before bed, if showering is needed that day.
- I pre-fill a glass of water and place it next to my bed.
In the morning, all Toddler Hannah has to do is follow the path:
- Drink water
- put on clothes
- brush teeth
- go to kitchen
- start the kettle
- grind coffee beans
- do CARs (while coffee is brewing)
- put lunch in backpack
- walk out the door
It actually feels good to run through this series most days. Toddler Hannah even appreciates my adult night-before-self and feels deeply cared for--like when your mom leaves you a cute note in your lunch box.
The sequence feels like a line of dominoes that are carefully placed by someone else, and in the morning I get to flick the first one over and watch with glee as they all topple. Wooohooooo!
Now, I have spent some time fine tuning this process - don't feel like you have to get it perfect the first time around. But start somewhere. You can always revise.
Start by thinking through what needs to happen in the morning before you leave the house.
How many dominoes are you dealing with (i.e. what are the must-happen items of your morning)?
What could you pre-set for yourself?
What decisions can you remove?
What time do you need to be literally walking out the door?
What time do you need to get up? (track backward from here to figure out how much time each "domino" on your list will take, and then you'll know what time you need to set your alarm.)
Yes, this takes some time the night before.
But I would sure rather let adult Hannah handle that ish than hope that groggy toddler Hannah will be able to manage it in the morning. She won't. We know her.
Does this make sense? Do you have ideas about how you can smooth your path in the morning?
PS: One decision you can easily remove is WHAT to do for your morning movement. Our 10 Minutes of Morning Alchemy video is a great way to sneak some mobility into your day, and ground you in your body before you have to take on any of the day's challenges.